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Adverse Childhood Experiences and Binge Drinking in Adolescence: the Role of Impulsivity and PTSD Symptoms



The present study examines impulsivity and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms as factors that may help understand the relationship between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and adolescent binge drinking.


Data were drawn from a subset of adolescents (N = 285) ages 12–22 from the National Consortium on Alcohol & Neurodevelopment in Adolescence (NCANDA). Impulsivity and PTSD symptoms were each predicted to moderate the relationship between ACEs and binge drinking.


The positive relationship between PTSD symptoms and binge drinking was stronger when impulsivity was included. The positive relationship between ACEs and binge drinking was also strengthened when accounting for PTSD symptoms.


Our results provide evidence that impulsivity and PTSD symptoms may increase the risk for binge drinking during adolescence, including following ACEs. Interventions targeting PTSD symptoms and impulsivity could be valuable tools in preventing adolescent binge drinking.

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Fig. 1

Data Availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the National Consortium on Alcohol and Neurodevelopment in Adolescence (NCANDA) and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Restrictions apply to the availability of these data, which were used under a data distribution agreement for this study.


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This work was made possible with support by NIH Grants AA021697, AA021695, AA021692, AA021696, AA021681, AA021690, and AA021691. Data used here are from the data release NCANDA_PUBLIC_4Y_REDCAP_V02 ( distributed to the public according to the NCANDA Data Distribution agreement.

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Correspondence to Kate B. Nooner.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Arwood, Z., Nooner, K.B. Adverse Childhood Experiences and Binge Drinking in Adolescence: the Role of Impulsivity and PTSD Symptoms. J Pediatr Neuropsychol 9, 30–41 (2023).

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  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • Impulsivity
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Binge drinking
  • Adolescence
  • Neurodevelopment